Now in its third year, the program will invest up to $25 million, or up to $1.4 million each, over eight years to help fellows complete their postdoctoral training, secure a tenure-track position, and begin to set up labs of their own. Through the two-phase program — four years as a postdoc and four years as faculty — fellows also will receive access to mentoring from and active involvement in the HHMI community. Named for former HHMI board chair and former University of Chicago president Hanna Holborn Gray, the program seeks to advance diversity in the field of biomedical research by supporting gender, racial/ethnic, and other groups that are underrepresented in the life sciences.
This year's recipients include Christopher Bartley (University of California, San Francisco), a molecular psychiatrist who is studying misdirected antibodies that attack the brain in people with schizophrenia; Cesar De Leon (Yale University), whose work with targeted bacterial degradation is focused on designing a new class of antibiotics that help break down pathogens; Emily Dennis (Princeton University), who is investigating differences between species commonly used in research, with the goal of helping scientists better translate findings across species; and Tessa Montague (Columbia University), who is studying how the brain creates internal images of the outside world by examining how a cuttlefish's nerve cells translate visual information into color-changing instructions.
"HHMI is committed to supporting people who will solve some of the greatest problems in science," said HHMI president Erin O'Shea. "To do this, we need people from all backgrounds — the best solutions will be found by a diverse set of people."